Friday Jan 03, 201405:35 PM GMT
62 al-Qaeda-linked militants killed in Anbar clashes
Fri Jan 3, 2014 4:38PM
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At least 62 al-Qaeda-linked militants have been killed in clashes with Iraqi security forces backed by local tribesmen in the western province of Anbar.

Sheikh Ahmed Abu Risha, senior leader of Sahwa anti-Qaeda militia, said 46 members of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group were killed on Friday in Ramadi.

He added that 16 others were killed in Al-Khalidiya, which lies east of the provincial capital.

Earlier reports said the security forces were in control of most of the areas in Ramadi and had managed to clear more areas in the nearby city of Fallujah.

The two cities in Anbar Province have been the scene of clashes between security forces and al-Qaeda-affiliated militants over the past days.

The violence broke out on Monday when the army removed an anti-government protest camp in Ramadi. Authorities said the camp was used as "headquarters for the leadership of al-Qaeda."

But the move prompted 44 Iraqi MPs to announce their resignation and call for "the withdrawal of the army."

The withdrawal cleared the way for the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The people of Fallujah and Ramadi soon called for the return of the army to the restive cities to restore order and confront pro-al-Qaeda militants.

MRS/AB/SS

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